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Abingdon-on-Thames War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6703 / 51°40'13"N

Longitude: -1.2839 / 1°17'2"W

OS Eastings: 449617

OS Northings: 197077

OS Grid: SU496970

Mapcode National: GBR 7YR.66T

Mapcode Global: VHCY6.P8LX

Entry Name: Abingdon-on-Thames War Memorial

Listing Date: 12 January 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1437436

Location: Abingdon, Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, OX14

County: Oxfordshire

District: Vale of White Horse

Civil Parish: Abingdon on Thames

Built-Up Area: Abingdon

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Abingdon-on-Thames

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Summary

First World War memorial by JGT West, 1921, with additions for later conflicts.

Description

MATERIALS: Portland stone, Blue Pennant stone, bronze.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial stands in The Square at the junction of High Street, Ock Street and Bath Street. It is surrounded by a number of buildings listed at Grade II, including the Congregational Chapel. The memorial takes the form of a tall Portland stone pylon, rectangular on plan, raised on a plinth. Pedestals beside the corners of the plinth support Blue Pennant stone columns at each corner of the pylon. The columns carry an entablature with a plain architrave, frieze of triglyphs, metopes and dentils, and a deep cornice. A large stone block surmounts the cornice. This is decorated with small wreaths carved in low relief, one at the centre of each face.

The front face of the pylon carries a large bronze panel depicting a mourning soldier in profile, cast in relief. His hands rest on the butt of his reversed rifle and he wears his cap, his helmet hanging from his pack and with a water bottle at his waist. Below the panel on the front face of the plinth an inscription reads TO THE/ IMPERISHABLE MEMORY/ OF OUR/ GALLANT DEAD. The inscription WORLD/ WAR 1/ 1914 – 1918 is recorded on the front face of the pedestal to the left with to the right, WORLD/ WAR 2/ 1939 – 1945.

The rear face of the pylon is inscribed ABINDONIANS/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ (NAMES). Below on the plinth the principal dedicatory inscription reads THIS MEMORIAL/ IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE/ TO THE MEN OF THIS TOWN/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES THAT OTHERS MIGHT/ LIVE IN FREEDOM AND PEACE./ DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI. The inscription THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES/ ON ACTIVE SERVICE SINCE 1945/ (NAME)/ N. IRELAND 1981 is recorded on the front face of the pedestal to the left.

The panels to either side of the pylon are ornamented with small shields, below which are listed more names. One of the Second World War inscriptions is recorded on the east face of the plinth, reading 1939 – 1945/ ARMY/ (NAMES) with to the west 1939 – 1945/ ROYAL NAVY/ (NAMES)/ ROYAL AIR FORCE/ (NAMES).

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 20 February 2017.

History

Abingdon-on-Thames War Memorial was unveiled on 11 September 1921 by the Earl of Abingdon. The memorial was designed by Mr JGT West MMSA and built by Dennis Godfrey at a cost of £800, raised by public subscription. It commemorates 228 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of a further 55 men who died in that conflict were added, and the name of one soldier who died in the Troubles in Northern Ireland is also commemorated.

JGT West was also responsible for the Garford Memorial Tablets. As well as the Garford Tablets, Dennis Godfrey constructed a number of war memorials in the Vale of the White Horse including the Charney Bassett Village Cross (Grade II-listed).

Reasons for Listing

Abingdon-on-Thames War Memorial, which stands in The Square, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a substantial memorial in the Classical style, with a bronze panel depicting a mourning soldier;
* Group value: with numerous buildings listed at Grade II surrounding The Square.

Other nearby listed buildings

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